Unemployment Rules: Do You Still Qualify For Unemployment?

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unemployment rules

Life gets hard, and when it rains, it pours. Losing your job and your source of income can make everything very stressful, causing you to feel anxious and creating a bad environment overall. 

Luckily, our government understands that a lot of this stress has been outside of our control. In turn, the government has put policies in the form of unemployment benefits to help us all succeed as much as possible.

COVID-19 has had a massive impact on all unemployment insurance policies, and the pandemic has changed everything in the interim. Those changes are not permanent, but they were put into effect to accommodate the current situation resulting from COVID. 

Read on to learn more about the qualifications associated with unemployment and how you can go about filing for unemployment benefits!  

Unemployment benefits

People often ask, “How does unemployment work?” and “What are the current unemployment benefits?” Each state has its own interpretation of unemployment benefits, but regardless of where you live, there is a minimum and a maximum amount of money that you can receive on a regular basis. 

There is also a maximum amount of time during which you can receive this benefit. Each state has its own specific time period as well. An extension can be made available if necessary, with this extended benefit lasting a period of 13 weeks. 

Federal unemployment qualifications 

Federal and state governments set forth different rules and qualifications regarding your ability to receive unemployment benefits. Below is a list of these requirements, though this is not an all-inclusive list.

However, it will provide you with an idea of what the government is looking for before they will award this benefit. If you have any questions, you can always reach out to your state’s unemployment office. 


You cannot be employed, and your lack of employment must be no fault of your own. You cannot just quit your job one day and file for unemployment. In order to qualify, you must either be let go or terminated from your position.  

Work and wages

Each state has its own specific requirements regarding work and wages. Each state will require you to meet the wage requirement during a set amount of time known as the base period. Most U.S. states will classify the base period as the most recent four quarters. This essentially means you must work a full year before you can take advantage of unemployment.

Fit to work

Are you mentally and physically able to work? If you have been injured and you’re not able to work as a direct result, then it would be difficult for you to hold a job that requires manual labor, but you could still work a desk job. So, whether or not you are fit to work will be determined on a case-by-case basis. 

Meet state requirements

There are some states that require you to apply for a certain number of jobs per day or per week in order to receive unemployment benefits on a regular basis. For example, Utah requires people to apply for four full-time jobs each week in order to receive unemployment benefits. The requirements of other states will depend on each state’s eligibility qualifications. 

State unemployment rules

Each state has its own set of rules and policies that it must follow in order to maintain unemployment benefits. To learn more about your state’s rules and qualifications, consult the U.S. Department of Labor

There are certain details that could affect your ability to receive unemployment insurance, some of which include the following:

  • Actively looking for full-time work
  • Citizenship status
  • Whether or not you’re a student 
  • Illnesses or injuries 
  • Strike disputes
  • Refusal of job offer

This is not an all-inclusive list, but these details can give you an idea of what each state looks for when determining your eligibility for unemployment benefits. Be sure to look at the exact requirements your state abides by in order to understand which qualifications you must meet.

How to file for unemployment

Every state has its own method of filing for unemployment. Luckily, you can easily look up the process for the state you reside in and abide by the filing requirements of your state. 

Can I qualify for unemployment if I am self-employed?

Unemployment for self-employed people can be difficult to acquire. There are more hoops that you will have to jump through if you’re self-employed, though unemployment benefits are still available for you.

Here’s how you can get unemployment benefits if you are self-employed. If your business has experienced a significant loss of income, then you may qualify for a PPP loan. MoneyLion can help you file for a PPP loan.

Don’t qualify for a PPP loan? MoneyLion offers a Credit Builder Loan for those with poor credit without a hard credit check. Unemployment, child support, and alimony qualify as accepted forms of income. Download the MoneyLion and find out if you can get up to $1000 today!

Creating a safety net during hard times.

You shouldn’t ever want to live off of unemployment. By creating a safety net when times get tough, you eliminate the fear of unemployment being your only source of income. With MoneyLions suite of financial solutions, even for those without a job, you can rest assured knowing you have affordable options.

While you’re waiting to rebuild your career and get your finances back on track, consider Instacash to help you through tough times. During the good times–and the bad, MoneyLion is here for you!

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